6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Today we focus on forgiveness as we study Simon the Pharisee and the sinful woman, found in Luke 7:36-50. Luke 7:36–50

John Newton lived from 1725-1807. He wrote what is undoubtedly the most familiar Christian hymn of all time, Amazing Grace.

Newton’s testimony is equally as profound as the hymn that so beautifully depicts his faith in Christ. Newton was a young man torn between the influence of a godly mother and an ungodly father. When he was 11 years old, he began to work with his father, a sea captain. In his 20's, Newton forgot the bible training of his mother. He became the captain of a ship trading slaves from West Africa. During one of those voyages, a

terrible storm arose lasting 7 days. Every sailor hand pumping water to keep from sinking. Exhausted, Newton lashed himself to the helm for 12 hours at a time to steer the vessel. During those frightful hours he remembered the lessons his mother had taught him. He called himself“the great blasphemer.” In his anguish and fear, he called out to God: “I am too wicked to receive God’s forgiveness. Lord, please allow me to have the faith that my mother possessed”

He was saved by God’s grace

Left the slave business.

He became a powerful influence on William Wilberforce, leader of Britain’s abolitionist movement.

Newton began to study the Bible in depth.

At 39 years old was ordained as an Anglican pastor.

He preached until he was 82.

Late in his life, as is beautifully portrayed in the film “Amazing Grace,” Newton gave this testimony to William Wilberforce: “My memory is gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great savior!”

“Heroes of the Faith”, Fedele; “Amazing Grace,” Osbeck

Today, we will focus on forgiveness as we contemplate the memorial of Christian Communion, the remembrance of the bread and cup.

One story in the Gospels which beautifully explain forgiveness is found in Luke 7:36-50.

Luke 7:36–50 "One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. " "And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”"

Jesus was at the home of Simon the Pharisee. Simon had failed his customary duties:

Water for washing feet

Greeting Jesus as a guest with a kiss

anointing the head of Jesus with oil.

Simon saw himself as righteous

The sinful woman on the other hand lived a “sinful life.” No doubt she was a “woman of the night” in this small Galilean village. Now it was not unusual for an uninvited guest to visit the home of a Pharisee to hear teaching from the Scripture. And so this woman, is there.

The “Jar of perfume” was valued at 300 Denarai, or 300 days wages. At the very least, it was a LIFE’S SAVING.

This event is SIMILAR to the anointing by Mary in Bethany (John 12:1-8; Mark 14:3-9).

Jesus says to Simon, “The one who is forgiven much, loves much” Luke 7:47.

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